A collection of links previewing the Hokies' match-up with the Dukes this weekend as well as news from around the ACC. Let's get to it.
Virginia Tech Beat Writers
Hokies rally around their young players (Mark Giannotto)
One thing that does impress me about this year's team is the absolute unwillingness to point fingers. We heard all through camp that this was a tight-knit bunch of Hokies. Well, you don't really have a good grasp of that until there's some adversity. Now that we've gone through adversity we know that these guys really are as close as advertised.
Three keys for the Hokies vs. James Madison (Darryl Slater)
Slater want's to see the Hokies' linebackers, special teams and run blocking improve from their performance against the Broncos. If we can take care of those three issues, we'll be in good shape the rest of the season and win a lot of games. But it could be a disappointing season if those issues linger.
Scouting the Dukes (Kyle Tucker)
Here's a look at the reasons the Hokies should be worried about playing JMU this week. KT thinks we should be watching wide receiver Kerby Long. He doesn't have a big body of work, but Long has busted big plays in his short career so far. Hey, so did Jahre Cheeseman.
Chris Drager to miss home opener (Nathan Warters)
The Hokies only had three defensive ends see much of the field against Boise State and now one of them is out with a knee injury, hopefully for a short time. That means plenty of playing time for J.R. Collins and probably some quality reps for James Gayle as well. Hopefully this experience will help the Hokies build some depth at DE.
Virginia Tech Bloggers
JMU Preview (VT Campus Blog)
Josh predicts a big win for Tech and plenty of playing time for David Wilson and Logan Thomas. He wants to see Tech play more like it did against Marshall after last year's loss to Alabama and less like it did against Furman after the loss to ECU in 2008.
What To Watch For: JMU Edition (VT Fan)
Justin wants to see the 100 Proof Backfield get back on track against the Dukes. If they do, it will mean the offensive line has forgotten about its lackluster performance against Boise State, which would certainly make me happy. He's also worried about Long, who's the Dukes' top deep threat.
Game 2: JMU Preview (The North End Zone)
C-Gally has a humorous look at the Dukes, who had some interesting responses to his Hate Fest post about them. My favorite? "Did you know that JMU has the only Division 1 football championship in the state of Virginia?" Hey, buddy, did you know that Richmond is in Virginia?
Game Preview vs. James Madison (Tech Super Fans)
Brian isn't impressed with the size of JMU's players and thinks we'll roll.
#13 Hokie Football Preview: vs James Madison (UFR)
Kevin also predicts a Hokie blow out, but will have a careful eye on the run blocking and linebacker Jeron Gouveia-Winslow. He expects JMU will try to make Tyrod Taylor beat them. Hopefully Tyrod will oblige them, just like he did an out-manned Duke squad last year that was hell-bent on stopping the run.
James Madison News
I would link to what appears to be an interesting story in the Harrisonburg Daily News-Record about former Virginia Tech recruit and current Duke Peter Rose, who was one of seven Amherst High School students arrested on drug charges in May 2008. However, you have to be a paid subscriber to view the story online. Seriously, Daily News-Record?
The Dukes Head to Blacksburg (JMU Sports Blog)
JMUSB predicts the Dukes will get their first win over an FBS opponent under Mickey Matthews and that they can do it if they go downfield early to give their option attack room at the line of scrimmage. He also suggests gameday beer I've never heard of, Victory Golden Monkey. Hey, these JMU guys know how to party.
Nothing to lose (The Breeze)
The JMU student paper previews the game from a Dukes' perspective. According to Matthews, the Dukes will try to slow down Tyrod Taylor by mixing up their coverages and trying to get pressure on him to force mistakes.
Around the ACC
Phone Records and Resumes (Tar Heel Fan)
John Blake was on the phone with agent Gary Wichard a lot in the days leading up to the deadline to declare for the NFL Draft. Tar Heel Fan is withholding judgment until we know what the two were discussing, but this still isn't the kind of news UNC wants while an NCAA investigation is going on.
Is It Time To Consider Elevating Club Hockey To Varsity? (Riddick & Reynolds)
FYJC thinks Debbie Yow will add some sports at NC State in due time and wonders if BC should finally get an ACC rival in hockey. His main point, and it's a good one: "It won’t cost N.C. State one thin dime to provide a $200 million facility (in 2010 dollars) to host the team."
Kent State Game Preview And The Big Finish (BC Interruption)
Brian and Jeff take time from waiting for the cable guy to show up to preview the Flashes. Jeff doesn't think there's a big difference between Kent State and Weber State, which is probably right.
Team Profile: Duke Blue Devils (Blogger So Dear)
BSD thinks this week's Wake-Duke game, the first ACC conference game of the season, will be a close one worth watching. I actually agree. Should be a good one, as well as a game that will tell us a whole lot about both teams.
BDN Previews Duke at Wake Forest (Blue Devil Nation)
If Duke wants to go to a bowl, it better beat the Deacs. BDN thinks the Devils will have success throwing against the Wake secondary, but thinks the Deacs have a big advantage when it comes to their O-line against Duke's D-line.
Georgia Tech-Kansas Jayhawks Preview (From The Rumble Seat)
Kansas just lost to North Dakota State. Hopefully the Jackets will roll them. And hopefully Winfield and Dane survive their trip to Austin North.
Game preview: USC (From Old Virginia)
Even Brendan thinks it will take near perfection for the Hoos to leave Tinseltown with a win. He thinks coming within two touchdowns would be a moral victory for Mike London's squad.
Seminoles' Offense @ Oklahoma Sooners' Defense (Tomahawk Nation)
Bud thinks we'll know exactly where FSU is at as a team after this game. After watching the Sooners' secondary struggles and knowing their history against mobile quarterbacks, this could be a very high-scoring game on Saturday.
Plenty at stake for Terps in season's second game (D1scourse)
The Terps are coming off a huge win over a very good Navy team, but Patrick says they'll be measured by how easily they can handle lowly Morgan State. Remember, last year the Terps needed OT to knock off their FCS opponent, James Madison.
Terps Could Play Three QBs Against Morgan State (Testudo Times)
Jamarr Robinson may have led Maryland to its upset of Navy, but he still may not be the man at QB. Maryland's passing game struggled against the Mids, which is why we'll get to see Danny O'Brien and possibly C.J. Brown against the Bears.
PC Game Preview (Shakin The Southland)
After getting hammered by Wake Forest, Presby gets its shot at another ACC team in Clemson. PC's head coach, Herald Nichols, is still looking for his first win as the Blue Hose's coach. I doubt he'll get it this weekend.